Noting that the bill will be referred to Parliament after Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), Şahin told Today's Zaman about the ministry's efforts to prevent violence against women. She said the Ministry of Family and Social Policy had cooperated with the Religious Affairs Directorate, the Ministry of Education and the General Staff to take precautions against domestic violence and any other violence against women in society.
As part of work to prevent violence against women, the Ministry of Family and Social Policy signed a protocol to cooperate with the Religious Affairs Directorate in the past two weeks. According to the protocol, the directorate will run a project in which it will remove the misconceptions of people about Islam with regard to the issue of the role of women in society and family because Islam is generally overridden by local traditions and customs in areas where such incidents of violence against women are common. The directorate will prevent the manipulation of Islam in communities that want to legitimize the killing of women by citing statements from religious texts; it will try to convey the truths of Islam concerning women in Friday prayers every week.
The directorate will also work with the General Staff to raise the awareness of men about the role of women in society. The directorate will give instructions to soldiers in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) as part of preventing violence against women.
The Ministry of Education set up a special commission to review curriculums and school course books so as to include the necessary sections in books and curriculums to raise the awareness of students about women in society.
Minister Şahin said this problem cannot only be solved through the efforts of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy or simply with a draft law; thus, four departments of the state will work together to end this social problem.
Giving details of the new draft bill on preventing domestic violence, Şahin introduced a new regulation to strengthen the family structure in Turkey to prevent violence inside the family by stating that a new regulation will come into force in 2012 in which every family will have a family support specialist who will provide consultation to couples and will help them improve communication within the family.
The minister also stated that there are some regulations in the draft law to improve the role of women in society. She added that the ministry expects that by increasing the education level of women and their participation in economic life, the problem can be partly solved.
Responding to questions about the recent increase in violence against women, Şahin said she did not agree with people who say violence against women has increased recently because these incidents were always common but in recent times these violent actions have attracted public attention and the media began to handle this issue more frequently.
Şahin stated that previously society pressured women to be silent about domestic violence by saying, “Handle this issue inside the family” or “He is your husband, you should bear him,” but women have begun to assert their rights, and the ministry will help them in their efforts.
Woman sacrificing self for children in Bingöl attack ‘mother of year,’ Şahin says
Hatice Belgin, who threw herself on a suicide bomber in order to protect her children in an attack that killed two and injured 21 in Bingöl in late October should be the mother of the year and a symbol of efforts against the bloody face of terrorism, Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin told Today’s Zaman.
The attack occurred near a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) office in the predominantly Kurdish city at 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 29. A female suicide bomber was planning to detonate explosives strapped to her body, but a woman, Belgin, who had been shopping in the area with her three children, spotted the terrorist and threw herself onto the female suicide bomber in order to protect her children. Although she was killed in the attack, her sacrifice saved many lives, including the lives of her own children. Talking about Belgin, the minister said that a Kurdish woman sacrificed herself for her children by throwing herself onto a Kurdish suicide bomber. This incident clearly shows that Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists have a mentality that is nourished by blood and violence.
“Belgin was a self-sacrificing mother, she should be chosen as mother of the year and a symbol of efforts against the bloody face of terrorism, so her name should be given to some places as a sign of respect. Her action can also help us in our efforts to solve the long-standing Kurdish problem in Turkey. The PKK, which claims that it defends Kurdish people’s rights in Turkey, kills its own people, so this incident reveals that the PKK’s aim is not to defend Kurdish people. We should take such incidents as a call for brotherhood, unity and solidarity,” Şahin said. Meanwhile, the name of Hatice Belgin was given to an educational institution in the city of Bingöl. The former name of the Gülderen Reading Room was changed the Hatice Belgin Reading Room in a ceremony. Her three children who were with her at the time of the attack, her husband and her father attended the ceremony. Giving a speech following the ceremony, AK Party Bingöl deputy Eşref Taş said that Belgin, having saved many lives by throwing herself onto the suicide bomber, is a symbol of mercy, love and compassion.